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Apple files patent for iPhone friendly optical stylus

Posted: , by Nick T.

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Apple files patent for iPhone friendly optical stylus
As surprising as it may seem, Apple is apparently working on a stylus, of all things; a stylus that is meant to work with the company's portable devices, such as the iPhone. How do we know? Well, Apple has filed a patent application for such an accessory, meaning that it might materialize one day making those Draw Something sessions a lot more enjoyable.

However, the stylus in question is not just a dumb, pointy stick. The patent describes it as an "optical stylus", meaning that it might work in a way similar to how optical computer mice "see" the surface underneath them with the help of a tiny image sensor. Additionally, the to-be-patented accessory will detect how hard it is being pushed against the surface thanks to a pressure sensor. The data captured by the stylus will then be transmitted to a "host device", presumably the iPhone or iPad it is paired with. 

What makes the patent even more interesting is that seeing Apple considering stylus support for its handsets goes against the company's traditions. While unveiling the very first iPhone, Steve Jobs actually made fun of the accessory by rhetorically asking: "Who wants a stylus?". However, thanks to the Samsung Galaxy Note, the stylus is now making a comeback, and if the trend catches on, it would make perfect sense for Apple to respond to the demand for such an accessory. On the other hand, we have seen plenty of cool Apple patents that have yet to end up in a consumer device, so the optical stylus might not hit the market anytime soon.

What do you guys think? Would you ever need a stylus for your iPhone or iPad, or your fingers will do just fine? Let us know what you think by dropping a comment.

source: USPTO via Engadget

101 Comments
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posted on 24 May 2012, 08:22 12

1. tedkord (Posts: 12219; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


"It's like we said on the iPad, if you see a stylus, they blew it. " - Steve Jobs

posted on 24 May 2012, 08:24 5

3. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


Steve Jobs is dead.

Tim Cook is the new CEO.

If Apple consumers are asking for something, allow Apple to come to those demands. Jobs was a great man, but the antenna gate showed that he may not have always had his ears open...something that bothered me a bit. If this is what consumers want, I'm glad Apple is answering...

posted on 24 May 2012, 08:25 10

4. tedkord (Posts: 12219; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Steve Jobs is dead? When did that happen?

posted on 24 May 2012, 08:31 6

8. hepresearch (unregistered)


I was just asking myself the same question about Elvis...

posted on 24 May 2012, 08:36 4

12. GuiltyBystander (Posts: 199; Member since: 05 Mar 2012)


Elvis might be dead, but his voice will live forever ;)

posted on 24 May 2012, 10:34 1

32. jmoita2 (Posts: 930; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)


Hey, I just saw on the National Enquirer the Steve Jobs was spotted at a 711 in the South somewhere...lol

posted on 24 May 2012, 08:30 5

6. KingShango (Posts: 89; Member since: 16 May 2012)


Agreed. Jobs was innovative certainly had a vision but that doesn't mean he was always right. The popularity of Android shows that there's more than one way to do things.

posted on 24 May 2012, 08:34 3

10. tedkord (Posts: 12219; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


iXactly.

posted on 24 May 2012, 08:38 3

13. tedkord (Posts: 12219; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


I'm just saying...if Apple had come up with this "intelligent stylus" three years ago, we'd hear nothing but yells of, "Samsung copies!!!!" when the Galaxy Note came out.

But, with the situation reversed, what iFan do you suppose will come to this story and admit Apple is now copying Samsung? (I think some might, but not most)

posted on 24 May 2012, 09:01

18. hepresearch (unregistered)


Already happening even without the situation being reversed. Case-in-point: comment #16... and so it begins!

posted on 24 May 2012, 16:03 1

69. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Umm Samsung doesn't have an intelligent stylus so you have no point

posted on 24 May 2012, 16:15 4

70. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


apple doesnt have intelligent trolls, so you have no point.

posted on 24 May 2012, 17:27 1

78. gallitoking (Posts: 4720; Member since: 17 May 2011)


right because Apple doesnt call them trolls..

posted on 25 May 2012, 07:54 2

91. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


do you prefer, sheep, troll, or moron?

posted on 24 May 2012, 16:17 1

72. tedkord (Posts: 12219; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


No, no. Of course not. Not inside the RDF. What color is the sky in there, where Apple just came up with this idea of a stylus that does more than just replace a fingertap on the screen out of thin air?

posted on 25 May 2012, 07:53 2

90. Fallout09 (Posts: 421; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


No, but HTC did. Once again.... Apple never copies anything.

posted on 24 May 2012, 09:29 2

23. SkOne (Posts: 95; Member since: 02 May 2012)


Chuck Norris.......ENOUGH SAID.

posted on 24 May 2012, 08:24 7

2. GuiltyBystander (Posts: 199; Member since: 05 Mar 2012)


Ridiculous.

posted on 24 May 2012, 08:30 2

5. PackMan (Posts: 277; Member since: 09 Mar 2012)


Optical Stylus my a**. How is this different from light pen?

posted on 24 May 2012, 08:30 4

7. superguy (Posts: 293; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


Waiting for Samsung to file a law suit in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

posted on 24 May 2012, 10:14

28. appleDOESNT.com (banned) (Posts: 456; Member since: 19 Nov 2011)


Why? Sammy didn't invent that either..

posted on 24 May 2012, 21:15 3

88. tedkord (Posts: 12219; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Apple didn't invent rectangles, grids of icons, touchscreens, multi-touch, popup menus to choose default actions when clicking a link, or smartphones in general, but that doesn't stop them suing.

posted on 24 May 2012, 08:32

9. mercorp (Posts: 1030; Member since: 28 Jan 2012)


Samsung will soon file a lawsuit.
Will the iphone 5 come with a 5.5 inch screen?Hope so.

posted on 24 May 2012, 08:35 6

11. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1488; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


iPhone?..iPad?.....no its a iNote

posted on 24 May 2012, 12:14

51. good2great (Posts: 1042; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)


i would laugh myself to death if they create an iNote device...hahaha

good one!

+1

posted on 24 May 2012, 08:39 2

14. 9_HeLLs_oF_DrOid (Posts: 127; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)


Lol...Apple is one hell of a company. XD

posted on 25 May 2012, 17:05

99. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)


Apple is ONE of the most hated company

posted on 24 May 2012, 08:40 5

15. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


waiting for taco to come out and start yelling that samsung copied apple's "obvious" stylus design and should be sued!

posted on 24 May 2012, 08:41

16. QinEmpire (Posts: 145; Member since: 16 May 2012)


Good job for Apple patenting it or else Samsung/Google will once again rip it shameless and claim credits.

posted on 24 May 2012, 09:00 2

17. hepresearch (unregistered)


We've already got one!

(I told them 'we've already got one'... chuckle chuckle...)

=8-P

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